I have come to find it fairly amusing over the years how Gibson has morphed and reworked their Les Paul reissues. I think we've seen them all, although it wouldn't surprise me if there was still a few odd variants out there that haven't crossed the door threshold here in the Elkcave.
I think the earliest reissue I've seen was a 1971, '58 reissue that was actually a goldtop Les Paul. Then, it looks like the fun began from there, especially where the R8's and R9's were concerned and it's only heightened in recent years. There were the standard yearly reissues that were really nowhere close to the originals and then it moved on to the "We're Gettin' Closer" reissues. We've had the "Tuners Are Now Aligned Properly" models, the "Finally Got a Long Neck Tenon" versions, the "Holly Veneer Hollies", the "A Lot Like the Originals", the "Workin' On the Cutaway Binding" ones, the "Really Close Historics", the "Really Really Close Historics", the "Closer Than We Were Last Year Historics", and the "True Vintage Can't Tell the Difference From These and a Real 'Burst Historics". And, I'm sure I left a few out.
There were also many types of colors during these long and storied runs. There was your basic "Sunburst", the beloved "Darkburst" and a similar "Bourbonburst". I could live with those because they did seem to elicit thoughts of those great 50's guitars, but Gibson being Gibson, they began to issue some quite odd colors. There was the "Pauly Shore Burst", the "Barroom Bathroom Burst", the "PETA Burst", the "Putin Burst" (this one will ride a horse by itself), the "Rosie 'O Donnell Burst (this one's always hungry), the "David Lee Roth Burst", the "Dolly Parton Burst (played low for obvious reasons), the "California Burst" (very expensive, but always at a comfortable temperature), the "Burst Burst", the "Burst Burst Burst", the "Vintage Burst", the "Ice Ice Baby Burst" (you can hang this one off a balcony by its neck), followed by the "Suge Knight Burst" (this one gets a cut of any song you may write on it), the "Burt Reynolds Burst" (play this one in a club- women's clothes seem to come off real easy), the "Frank Sinatra Burst" (on this model, you have to ask its permission to even pick it up), and finally, the very rare and coveted "Redd Foxx Burst" (gets repossessed but is funny as hell while you own it).
Of all these different types of Historic Les Pauls and in our very small opinion, the only sane and consistently value- worthy of these Les Pauls were the Tom Murphy Aged examples. Everything about them speaks quality and this particular guitar exemplifies that trait from tip to bottom. The aging, color, and build are superior, with the cherry on top of the cake being Tom's initials under the bridge pickup volume knob. This is an investment- grade, American guitar that you can own, play and enjoy for years to come. Hell, pass it on to your son or daughter and inspire a new generation of young musicians to carry on the torch. I think it would do the next generation of guitar players a ton of good to play in smokey bars, pick up chicks and revel in the Rock n Roll lifestyle. After all, look what it did to us...